The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), the leading source on parasitic diseases that threaten the health of pets and people, released its annual 2019 parasite forecast and corresponding 30-day forecast maps to alert pet owners of pending outbreaks. Parasite infections are real and can be deadly to pets. “We started providing our annual forecasts over eight years ago because of the dynamic and ever changing nature of parasites,” says Dr. Christopher Carpenter, DVM and executive director of CAPC. “Over the years, we have seen these diseases continue to move.”
Pet owners who want to monitor the activity in their county throughout the year now have access to 30-Day Parasite Forecast Maps at www.petdiseasealerts.org. These maps, developed exclusively by CAPC, provide a local forecast for every county in the continental United States on a monthly basis.
According to CAPC, the risk of acquiring heartworm disease in 2019 is very real due to the expansive nature of the disease. This increase in heartworm prevalence can be attributed to weather and the transportation of companion animals from one area of the country to another. A warmer than usual and humid weather pattern has created an ideal breeding condition for mosquitoes across the country. Mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of the parasite that causes heartworm disease. Heartworm disease can be deadly to pets. CAPC also predicts that Lyme disease will be higher in three key areas this year, most notably throughout the Appalachian region, Minnesota and the Atlantic Coast. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks and is spreading as the white-tailed deer population grows and migratory birds carry ticks to new areas. For 2019, CAPC predicts the following risk areas for parasite-related diseases:
- Infection with heartworm, which causes a potentially fatal disease is expected to be higher than average in the south central and southeastern states. The areas of greatest concern are those along the Mississippi River from northern Louisiana all the way into Illinois. In addition, areas with historically lower prevalences of heartworm should particularly take note of predicted higher prevalence including Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Southern Louisiana and a small area along the Texas border are currently forecasted to be lower than average.
- Lyme disease is a high threat again this year and is “oozing” into the entire Appalachian region, the Atlantic Coast, and throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. Pets living in or traveling to these states are considered at high risk; pet owners should talk to their veterinarian about a Lyme vaccination in addition to testing for the disease and protecting year-round against ticks.
- Transmission of the agents of anaplasmosis is again forecasted to be average for much of the United States. However, northwestern Minnesota is forecasted to have an active year. There are some bright spots which are expected to see less activity than normal including the Atlantic coast of New England, the Wisconsin/Minnesota border, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and southern Texas.
- Ehrlichiosis is expected to be higher throughout the southern central United States, particularly in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. There are several small areas scattered throughout the south central and southeastern states that are predicted to be lower than average, most notably eastern Arkansas and across the border of North Carolina and Virginia.
University of Sydney researchers have discovered an antidote for the world’s most venomous creature, according to a report from the Guardian.
The publication reports the sting from an Australian box jellyfish carries enough venom to kill more than 60 people.
CNN reports venom from the sting can cause tissue necrosis, extreme pain, cardiac arrest and death within minutes after severe exposure.
Researchers used a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR to identify how the venom kills human cells. The team used a family of drugs that absorb cholesterol known as cyclodextrins to block the venom, Associate Professor Greg Neely told CNN.
According to the university, researchers first tested the antidote on human cells outside the body and on live mice. Researchers hope to develop a topical application for humans.
Scientists in the UK have found cocaine, prescription drugs and pesticides in river wildlife in some parts of rural England.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International and said river wildlife like freshwater shrimp was exposed to multiple micropollutants -- chemicals found at very low levels.
Researchers with Kings College London and the University of Suffolk teamed up for the study and said consumer products, chemicals, medicines and drugs can end up in rivers and potentially hurt the environment. The group collected samples from 15 different sites around Suffolk County.
Cocaine was found in all samples tested, the study said. The group said ketamine, banned pesticides and other pharmaceuticals were also "widespread in the shrimp that were collected."
Sky News reported the group is now calling for more research around the UK to determine whether these micropollutants are concentrated in one particular county or symptomatic of a much more widespread problem.
"Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising," Dr. Leon Barron from Kings College London said in a news release.
Barron said scientists expect these findings in urban areas like London but are surprised to find them in rural areas like Suffolk.
A London traffic camera truly gives a bird’s eye view of the roads.
A seagull made fans after making the traffic camera its new hangout spot -- over the course of several days. The camera sits above Brunswick Road near the Blackwall Tunnel, showing a bustling highway behind a very talkative seagull.
“Our cameras usually give us a bird’s eye view of traffic across London, but we’d like to thank our new colleagues Graeme and Steve for helping out at beak times,” according to a tweet by Transport for London Traffic News.
Some people have blamed the scientists at the University of Florida as the creators of the love bug, but that is a myth. Those bugs are not native to Florida at all.
“Contrary to popular belief, the University of Florida did not introduce the love bug to the state,” according to the school’s website.
Love bugs originated from Central America. They migrated through Texas and Louisiana before making their way to Florida. Now, they are expanding, and can be found as far north as South Carolina.
But for some reason, it seems they love Florida the most. They are attracted to heat, and decomposing plant debris. UF scientists said love bugs could confuse those odors with chemical in exhaust fumes, which is probably why we see so many of them around highways.
They are more active between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and when temperatures are above 84 degrees. The males swarm first and eventually find the females, which is why they are together, Osterberg explained. The males don’t let go. They hang onto the females because they don’t want another male to fertilize the female.
They are harmless to humans, but are a nuisance. They are very acidic. If you leave them on your vehicles, that acid can literally eat away at your paint. You have to get them off sooner than later.
Love bugs do feed on decaying vegetation.
"They do help out in the environment," Osterberg said. "They’re not useless. They’re here for a reason. They are a nuisance to us. They don’t bite. They don't sting."
"But don't eat them though," he added. "Because they taste very bitter...anybody for a love bug and cheese sandwich?"
Simon Cowell is doing what he can to help close a dog meat farm in South Korea.
The America’s Got Talent judge, 58, has agreed to donate £25,000 (roughly $32,640) to Humane Society International (HSI), a charity that addresses animal issues worldwide.
HSI tweeted about Cowell’s donation on Friday. They say his money will save over 200 dogs and puppies from a South Korean dog farm that breeds the animals for human consumption. The charity plans to go there next week to pick up the canines, after which they will send the dogs to various countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands for recovery and adoption.
Their tweet came with a photo of a mother dog and her litter of puppies, all trapped in one of the farm’s cages. According to HSI, the animals spend their entire lives in barren metal cages before they are brought out for slaughter. They are usually killed by means of electrocution or hanging.
A new ranking reveals the “most pet-friendly” airlines.
The list by Wallet Hub the number of “animal incidents” attributed to each airline.
The website divided the number of animals that died, were injured or got lost by the number of animals transported and weighted the results to account for severity.
In a tie for first place were ExpressJet Airlines and Envoy Air. Neither airline had any incidents.
Rounding out the top five were Alaska Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and American Airlines.
The list was part of a broader feature ranking airlines on various factors, such as safety, reliability and price.
The 145th annual Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Affectionately called the "the most exciting two minutes in sports," the race is the first leg of the Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes on May 18 and the Belmont Stakes on June 8.
The Kentucky Derby is always the hardest race of the year to handicap, and this year featured a particularly high shake-up with the scratches of Omaha Beach - which was considered the favorite - and Haikal. Here's everything you need to know about this year's "Run for the Roses":
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky
Distance: 1.25 miles
Post time: 6:50 p.m. ET
TV channel: NBC – coverage begins at 2:30 p.m.
To check out the Lineup and Odds visit talkinpets.com in the news section